| One-Minute Clinician

The Rationale for Compounded Topical Analgesics

“Compounded topical analgesics” is a significant gray area, with regulations. But compounding topical analgesics is essentially taking medicines that by themselves work and are used in healthcare for a variety of reasons, and putting them together in a topical cream based on the prescription of a healthcare provider.

What are the issues with topical analgesics?

  • They’re very expensive
  • They’re often not covered by insurance
  • There’s very little data that supports utilizing them together in this fashion, and administering peripherally
  • Many of these medicines work in the brain and spinal cord; how they might work when administered peripherally in a localized area is not well defined

What practitioners should know:

  • What’s available—salicylate containing products, capsaicin, etc
  • What the key ingredients are
  • Patients may be using over-the-counter products and not telling their provider: Providers Must ASK
  • Topicals can be quite effective if we know what we’re targeting and where